He is voiced by Nozomu Sasaki.
His character design was heavily inspired by the character Tetsuo Shima from the 1988 animated film Akira (which was adapted from the manga of the same name). His name is a homage to a character in the anime, Armored Trooper Votoms.
K9999 is considered to be a man not to be tampered with. He has a very short temper and is easily driven to violence. He hates K' with a passion, and considers him his ultimate rival. He also develops a rivalry with Kusanagi in The King of Fighters 2002, though this is non-canon. Angel is the only one he considers to be a friend.
- Pyrokinesis - K9999 can control fire, but his ability is quite limited in comparison to Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami or even K'. He can only create fire, cause highly-heated gas to erupt from the ground in front of him, and attack with streams of fire in a slashing manner.
- Limited Shapeshifting - K9999 can shapeshift his hair to resemble K's. K9999 can also shapeshift his clothes.
- Psionic Shield - K9999 can create a moon-shaped shield of psychic energy.
- Tentacle - K9999 can transform his right arm into a fleshy tentacle and fling it at his opponents.
- Polymorphic Arm - K9999 can transform his right arm into an iron drill, a blade or a shotgun-like weapon.
- Full Power Energy Attack - By using his full power, K9999 can release energy through the air causing damage to anyone nearby. This power is non-canon since it is exclusively used in The King of Fighters 2002, a Dream Match.
- Motorcycle Driving - K9999 can be seen riding a motorcycle very well in the 2001 novel.
K9999 fights with his polymorphic arm. The arm can transform into claws, blades of different sizes and shapes, and into a shotgun. He knows some basic fighting techniques.
- NESTS: Ruler of the Dark - The King of Fighters 2001
- Napolitan Trance - The King of Fighters 2002
Controversy & Removal
Many of K9999's mannerisms, attacks, animations, and even lines of dialogue in both The King of Fighters 2001 & The King of Fighters 2002 directly comes from the anime film Akira, specifically from the character Tetsuo Shima, who K9999 was based upon, and even had the same voice actor, Nozomu Sasaki, to portray them both. Although the references in the games could be seen as a tribute to the anime film, it could also be seen as plagiarism due to numerous elements from the source material imitated by the character in verbatim. Possibly done to prevent a potential lawsuit case with Toho Studios, starting with The King of Fighters 2003, K9999 would be removed from the series roster, and would eventually be removed from any SNK official products altogether, with his final physical appearance in an SNK game being KOF x Garou Densetsu.
Although never said outright, SNK have expressed an overwhelmingly negative displeasure for K9999 due to the explicitness of his tribute, and have taken measures to act as if he never existed. Examples include:
- Completely removing his Character Portrait and replacing his developer description off of the KOF website after The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match released.
- K9999's Character Portrait in "The King of Fighters Character Encyclopedia" (which features every character that appears throughout the series up to The King of Fighters XIII) is censored into a black silhouette.
- All past artwork that featured K9999 was completely redacted from The King of Fighters XIV's Gallery, which also includes every artwork where he was paired up with other characters.
- The character Nameless was later created to specifically represent and replace him in subsequent titles as a stand-in, starting with The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match onwards.
- K9999 was not mentioned nor playable/included in KOFXIV, KOF: A New Beginning and KOF: All Star, all of which depicts Angel being the only one to betray NESTS during the climax of the 2001 story.
Due to these factors, it is highly unlikely that K9999 will re-appear in any official future installments or products by SNK. However, despite the apparent disfavor of the character at SNK, many fans have expressed a desire to see K9999 return to the series in spite of the possible copyright conflict. Some fans have even expressed that SNK was being hypocritical with K9999, as many SNK character designs in the past were directly inspired off of other popular anime characters, such as Benimaru being based off of Polnareff and Blue Mary being based off of Android 18. However, unlike the aforementioned characters, K9999's virtually verbatim mimicry made him way too similar to Tetsuo, to the point of plagiarism, hence, SNK's action to remove him in the first place. It should also be noted that K9999 was created at the time when SNK was at its lowest point due to bankruptcy, and his origin game, KOF 2001, was jointly created with Eolith.
During a Q&A session with Yasuyuki Oda at Gamescom 2016, a fan asked about K9999's current whereabouts. Oda answered, "Maybe one day we’ll find out what happened to Angel's partner, K9999.". This was the first time that K9999 was publicly mentioned by name by an official SNK employee since 2009.
In 2019, Fio Lina, a member of Power Geyser, visited SNK Headquarters to talk to Krispy Kaiser, SNK's community manager, about many SNK related questions, with K9999's fate in the series being one of them. According to Krispy Kaiser, there is currently an unspoken rule at the company that mentioning K9999 by name is strictly prohibited, and can only be mentioned by non-descriptive terms (i.e., "the one replaced by Nameless") for "legal reasons". This type of phrasing was also exemplified even more with an official tweet by The King of Fighters All Star's Official Japanese Twitter account responding to a fan asking if K9999 would appear in the mobile game. Considering all these factors, and according to Krispy Kaiser's words, "...it is safe to say that from now on, in any SNK game, he will never return".
- Although K9999 does not appear in The King of Fighters Neowave, his data remains in the arcade version and can be selected using external cheat devices. Here, he uses Kyo's icon on the select screen and Kula's while in battle. In battle, his color palette is bugged, but is otherwise fully functional.
- All of his move names are quotes taken from the movie Akira, as well as mimicking several iconic stills from the said movie in his attack motions.
- One of K9999's Desperation Attacks in 2001 and 2002 was him morphing his hand into a gun. In the American and European releases of those games, his gun arm was censored; changed to just his fist and the explosions.
- K9999 is one of the very few characters in fighting game history to not have his cr. or a crouching strongest normal as his standard sweep; his cr. acts as one instead. Another notable example in SNK universe is Mr. Big.
- His special intro against Kusanagi is yet another direct homage of the anime film Akira. Kusanagi's voice actor before KOF Sky Stage, Mitsuo Iwata, also voiced the character Shōtarō Kaneda, Tetsuo's nemesis and prior best friend.
- In a 2005 poll made by SNK Playmore USA, he was voted as the seventh fan favorite character with a total of 156 votes.
- Nameless, K9999's replacement
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